Rotterdam Open 2020: Hubert Hurkacz vs Stefanos Tsitsipas, match preview and prediction
Two big names in second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Auckland champion Hubert Hurkacz are set to take on each other in the first round of the 2020 Rotterdam Open in one of the many showcase opening encounters.
It will be the sixth time that the two men meet in a main draw match of an ATP Tour event, but it will be interesting to see the two top players of the Next Gen compete so early in the week.
Tsitsipas might have been looking to start the year on a high following top-notch performances in the back half of 2019, but it has been a forgettable first few weeks for the Greek.
His opponent, on the other hand, had the best possible start to his season with back-to-back wins in the ATP Cup and a semifinal in Auckland. He came up short against an inspired John Millman in Melbourne and will be looking to get back to winning ways here.
At 6'5" tall, Hurkacz has an explosive serve that anchors his surprisingly well-rounded game. He has put in a lot of effort in improving his frontcourt game, with several extra hours on the doubles court.
And the same has helped him back his powerful baseline game really well. Hurkacz is one of the few players on the tour who is equally comfortable in all parts of the court, be it on the net, or deep behind the baseline.
The one area where Tsitsipas is markedly better than his opponent is in terms of court coverage. Slick in his movement, Tsitsipas can be a nightmare to get past at times. His counter-punching skills are just as impressive and that might work well against someone like Hurkacz.
Interestingly, Tsitsipas' loss to Milos Raonic in Melbourne would have prepared him well for this match. He got to get a feel of big serving and huge groundstrokes, the kind that he might not be able to produce on his own.
A lot will depend on how Tsitsipas will cope with the rampage from the other side of the court. There will be little time for self-doubt that might have crept in after the season's slow start and if he doesn't come out with a positive outlook, this one might slip out of his hands quickly.
Prediction: Hurkacz to win in three setsPublished 11 Feb 2020, 14:33 IST